Skoda Kushaq Monte Carlo long term review, 9,000km report

    Second report: Who said the Monte Carlo is too flamboyant? The colours are in sync with the Kushaq’s personality.

    Published on Jun 25, 2023 08:00:00 AM


    Make : Skoda
    Model : Kushaq

    I’d classify the Skoda Kushaq as a happy car, and happy cars warrant bright and happy colours. Which is why I find myself magnetically attracted to our long-term Tornado Red Kushaq. Ours is a Monte Carlo, which trades chrome details for blacked-out bits, and it looks all the better for it. Double thumbs up for the Monte Carlo’s exclusive Vega design wheels too. It all comes together really well to make it stand out from the other Kushaqs on our roads, of which there are many now. To me, the spicier exterior is worth the Rs 65,000 spent for a Monte Carlo.

    Red elements add colour and cheer to the Kushaq’s smart interior.

    I love what Skoda’s done inside too. The red panel on the dash and red touches on the seats are jhataak, yes, but the fun Kushaq can pull it off. The colours sure put me in an upbeat mood, and I like that the red theme extends to the digital dials and ambient lighting, though the latter is dim even at its brightest setting. 

    Much of my time with the Kushaq has been in slow-moving city traffic. I hoped a weekend trip to Pune would present the opportunity to let the Skoda stretch its legs. Sadly, it didn’t pan out that way. The rush on the expressway meant a frustrating driving speed in the 65-75kph band. The 150hp and 250Nm engine and 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox were put to full use only when overtaking. Also, because I had to keep altering speed, the 1.5 TSI engine’s famed cylinder deactivation feature (that switches off two cylinders at light loads) rarely got a chance to kick in. The Kushaq delivered 15.9kpl on the journey to Pune with the number improving to a satisfying 17.2kpl on the return leg to lower altitude Mumbai.

    1.5 TSI’s mid-range punch makes overtaking effortless. 7-speed DSG is quick too.

    Learnings over the weekend included how much more accommodating the Kushaq is than its 385-litre luggage capacity would suggest. We fit in bags, suitcases and all manners of odds and ends and it accommodated everything. 

    Suspension is set stiff. Rear seat passengers will particularly find the ride firm.

    The Kushaq also exhibited the stability and road holding we associate with European cars. However, I did find myself needing to fiddle with the AC controls quite often. You need to blast the AC for the initial bit of cooling and then it’s a balancing act between temperature and blower speed. Auto mode doesn’t quite get it. Nineteen degrees and mid blower setting seemed to keep everyone happy. Speaking of which, in a first, my mum-in-law had feedback on a car I was driving. She found the ride stiff at the back. I didn’t want to get into the nuances of suspension set-up and balance of ride and handling, but I get where she’s coming from. The Kushaq does feel firm.

    A longer, more entertaining drive to Goa is in the offing and I’m sure the Skoda will be an ace on the ghats. Till that trip falls in place, the Kushaq and I will paint the town red. 

    Also see: 

    Skoda Kushaq Monte Carlo 1.5 TSI long term review, 3700km report

    Fact FilePetrol AT
    Distance covered8,867km
    Price when newRs 19.69 lakh
    Test economy10.8kpl
    Maintenance costsNone

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